Food

spinach and cheddar strata

you know the last like 1/4 of a loaf of bread, the nice kind you bought for pasta or made but didn’t get around to eating before it got just a little to stale and hard to eat normally? this a constant problem in my life and I have settled on a solution that is nearly as easy as forgetting to eat the bread and results in a great brunch/lunch/dinner because this is one of those foods that has no set time of day and gives you amazing leftovers.

while you could easily add lots more veg and probably some kind of meat to this, this version is very much a clean-out-the-fridge kind of meal than a detailed version. that does not prevent it however, from being incredibly delicious

spinach & cheddar strata

3(ish) cups of cubed dried out bread

1/2 onion white onion diced (aka the onion sitting in the back of your fridge)

1 tbs butter

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp oregano

most of a bag of spinach (probably about 3 cups?)

1 cup grated cheddar

1/2 grated parmesan

1 cup milk

3-4 eggs

2 tbs wholegrain mustard

  • saute onion in butter until soft, add salt, pepper, and oregano
  • add spinach, cook until soft and remove from heat
  • grease baking dish with butter
  • layer half the bread along the bottom of the dish
  • top with the spinach and onion mixture
  • top with half the cheese mixture
  • place the rest of the bread on top
  • top with the rest of cheese
  • beat together eggs, milk and mustard, pour over dish
  • let soak for about 6+ hours, or overnight
  • bake for about 40-50 minutes, at 350F/180C
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Food

Easy raspberry jam + overnight oats

A teaspoon-ish amount of this tart jam, stirred through oats, makes a perfect breakfast for this not-quite-spring weather.

small square glass jar sitting on wooden surface, filled with dark red seeded jam. Metal teaspoon sticking out of open jar

There’s a small jar of my grandmother’s homemade cherry jam tucked into the back of my cabinet, which I haven’t eaten because if I eat it then I don’t have any more. How long I hold out on not eating it is a good question, because it really is the best jelly on earth. However, this is not that recipe, this one is much much easier.

Canning things and sealing jars is great (and you can do that with this recipe if you’d like to) but it’s also a bigger time and space commitment than I think most people want to give. That doesn’t mean you can’t make and eat homemade jam regularly. This recipe relies on the natural pectin in the raspberries (other fruit will work, specifically blackberries and other high pectin fruits) to help it set, rather than adding it separately. This also means it’s JAM not JELLY (fruit not juice) – this difference is a hill I am willing to die on. If you don’t like the seeds though, feel free to run the whole thing through a sieve!

I primarily put jam on top of oatmeal/porridge/overnight oats. The main reason I decided to make it myself was to control how sweet it is – I find store bought jams to often be too sweet so you’ll notice there isn’t that much sugar in this recipe.

Easy Raspberry Jam

makes around one jar

small saucepan sitting on stove, filled with raspberries and sugar

175-200g raspberries (one medium-large carton)

juice of one lemon

1/4- 1/3 c granulated sugar – adjust to your desired sweetness and the sweetness of your berries

  • add berries, sugar, and lemon juice to a non-reactive saucepan
  • stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat
  • skim off the foam that rises and discard – if you don’t get it all, dont’ worry!
  • raise heat to high and boil for aprox 10 minutes, stirring to prevent scorching. beginning at 10 minutes check for doneness (I use the wrinkle test by putting a spoon or two in my freezer while the mixture comes to a boil and then testing if the jam sets when dropped onto it – you also get to eat the jam off the spoon after!) you can also check for the jam to get to 220F but I don’t have a thermometer.
  • If you want, strain your jam!
  • pour into a sealing jar and refrigerate. As you can tell in photos, I’m reusing an old jar that I washed out and sterilized (having a kettle is a godsend) right before use but you could definitely use traditional jars and process them in boiling water. However, this jam will keep in the fridge for a few weeks and makes such a small batch there’s no need!

Overnight Oats

one serving

I have never liked oatmeal very much, but living somewhere cold makes you! I prefer my oats soaked overnight so they become a custard-y texture, and honestly I like them cold best. These are great for making in a container you can take on the go to work/class!

1/3 c rolled oats

2/3 c milk (or 1/3 c milk and 1/3 c greek yogurt)

1 tbls chia seeds if you have them and like them!

pinch of salt

  • mix ingredients directly in the container you’ll eat them out of – it needs a lid
  • refrigerate for at least 4 hours – hence the ‘overnight’
  • this recipe is endlessly adjustable. I go ahead and put a spoonful of jam on top the night before. It’s also great with cinnamon sugar and bananas or apples, chocolate, peanut butter, and a variety of other fruits!
white bowl of oatmeal with a spoon in it, a dollop of dark red seeded raspberry jam on top
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